Regina vs. Canada: break and enter case resolved six years later

A recent traffic stop near Assiniboia brought a 2013 break and enter case at the Torquay Bar to conclusion on Monday, as a man charged pleaded guilty to three related charges.

Devon Brent Canada, 30, of Boissevain, Man., pleaded guilty to break and enter, disguise with intent (wearing a face mask), and failing to attend court.

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Canada represented himself in the matter, however, his employer from Boissevain, for whom he has worked five years, came to offer support. Canada wished to deal with the matters on this day, instead of having it adjourned to a later date.

He reviewed the Crown’s disclosure during the morning break and dealt with it as the last case of the day. 

Crown prosecutor David Crumley said Canada had some prior criminal matters that were similar, but dated, cases from 2007 and 2008.

In explaining the events, Crumley said at 9:15 a.m. on Feb. 18, 2013, the owner of the Torquay Bar watched out his front window as a white pickup truck with red duct tape on the back pulled up to the delivery entrance of the bar. He saw two males wearing masks get out and enter the bar.

The owner confronted them, telling them to take off their masks and empty their pockets. Doing so resulted in four energy drinks and a package of cigarettes. A third male, the getaway driver, fled the scene.

On March 25, 2013, Canada failed to attend court, resulting in a breech charge.

The prosecutor called for a four-month conditional sentence order, with 24-hour curfew allowed exemptions for work, childcare and medical appointments.

Crumley pointed out that Canada works in liquid manure removal for farms, and that his employer characterized him as a good employee.

In his defence, Canada said, “I hung around with some wrong people and made some wrong choices when I was young,”

Since then, he said he’s bought a trailer and vehicle for his family, including three boys and a wife who is a stay-at-home mother.

Judge Carol Snell, who previously served a seven-year term as chief judge of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan from 2008-2014 inclusive, presided over the case. She asked him the ages of the children and he replied they were eight and four years, and four months.

“I was working for an employer who didn’t pay for his guys. I was going through hard times. I was having a hard time mentally and physically. I regret every bad choice I made in my life,” Canada said.

“I want my kids to be able to look up to me, not down at me – look at what you did,” he said.

Canada added he wants to be able to travel through Saskatchewan, implying that an outstanding warrant would be an impediment to that.

Snell took note that he already had one child when this event took place.

If he didn’t have a prior criminal record, she would have considered a lesser sentence. “It was a stupid event otherwise. You weren’t there to commit any violent offences,” she said.

Snell said that probation was not enough, and that the four-month conditional sentence order that the Crown called for was appropriate. She said she would make it a minimal one.

Referring to it as an “immature, juvenile offence,” the judge also noted, “there has to be a deterrent impact.”

She lightened one of the conditions, and imposed a curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. instead of a 24-hour one, with several exemptions. The default sentence would require him to live in Saskatchewan, but she granted him permission to continue to live in Manitoba, and for permission to travel outside of Saskatchewan.

During the term of the sentence, Canada cannot consume alcohol, cannabis or non-prescription drugs, and is not to attend bars, liquor stores or cannabis stores. He was also ordered to provide a DNA sample.

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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